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Democrats took a great deal of time in their response to defend Planned Parenthood, the tissue brokers, and "life-saving" fetal tissue research.
Keeping the focus on the future: We aimed this series at a range of medical issues, rather than getting entangled in the polarized debate on fetal tissue research.
Windom's response propelled the issue of fetal tissue research (as opposed to research conducted on fetuses in utero) to the political forefront; his March 22 memorandum to NIH Director James Wyngaarden temporarily stopped all research "in which there is performed transplantation of human tissue from induced abortion.
Thus, although fetal tissue research remains contentious, due to its inevitable connection with abortion, federal funding is permitted within certain guidelines.
In the first and last chapters, which frame the story of political controversy over fetal tissue research, Maynard-Moody argues that controversy is central to democratic control over science policy, because it counters the tendency of citizens and public officials to feel so ignorant and incompetent to judge issues raised by scientific research that they leave the experts to decide.
The Reagan and Bush administrations prohibited federal funding of human fetal tissue research that involved transplants.
Rather, Republicans oppose technology programs that they consider an intrusion into the marketplace, environmental research that they perceive as politically motivated, or fetal tissue research that they see as inconsistent with their opposition to abortion.
Initially, Republicans sought to ban fetal tissue research, but White House objections forced them to drop the provision.
It was sometime during the Reagan administration that funding for human fetal tissue research was halted, and later, early in the Bush administration, a panel of experts and concerned professionals was convened to reexamine the pros and cons of reinstituting funding for such research.
Unfortunately, another bill that authorizes federal funding for fetal tissue research was also amended into the NIH legislation.
Moreover, the absence of laws limiting funding for fetal tissue research, together with no centrally mandated requirements for extensive animal trials before proceeding to human clinical studies, has prompted the Institute for Experimental Medicine to attempt fetal tissue transplants into the brains of two latestage Parkinson's patients.
Instead, university officials offered examples of medical advances that fetal tissue research could contribute to.